We’re All in this Together: Responsibility of Collective Agents and Their Members
Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. 30, 2006
28 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2012
Date Written: August 31, 2006
Using a Strawsonian approach that draws from the ideas or standards embedded in our practices, I argue that moral agents are characterized by three features: a perspective, a capacity for second order reflection, and sensitivity to moral reasons. I then argue that certain social groups can be moral agents in this sense, and thus can be held responsible for their actions. In response to concerns about how such collective responsibility relates to individual member responsibility, I argue that membership in a collective does not rid us of individual responsibility for our contributory actions. Furthermore, collective membership brings with it special obligations to respond and repair when our collective has acted wrongly.
Keywords: ethics, collective, collective action, practical ethics, moral responsibility
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